May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
But we don’t need awareness.
We need mental health acceptance.
The media shares more than enough stories about famous people’s struggles with mental health and, otherwise, often conflates mental illness with bigotry (e.g. mass shootings perpetrated by white supremacists are often whitewashed in the name of “mental health”).
We never hear of how suicide is the leading cause of death in the US, or how 1 in 4 Americans will experience clinical depression, or how minority stress, trauma and pressure makes it difficult for Black and Brown people to self-report and undergo mental health treatment.
The point is that May should be about more than awareness, it should be about the acceptance that we have, as a society, a problem with mental health stigma.
Awareness campaigns are strictly for when people aren’t already aware, but we are aware, otherwise, ableism wouldn’t be so rampant in American society.
We are just willfully ignorant about the state of mental health treatment and the accessibility of mental help.
That needs to change.